March 25th is the date this year when our clocks go forward with the arrival of British Summertime (BST). It’s a big leap in the gentle nudge towards the summer months. However, it can also be a rude awakening for our body clocks. How can we ensure we avoid losing sleep and sail through serenely?
The bad news is that no matter how you look at it, you do lose an hour in bed somewhere. It’s not much consolation that you’ll get an extra one in six months. So the reality is you can only hope to avoid feeling tired by preparing. There are a number of different ways of doing this.
Make sure you’re prepared
Given the clock change happens on a Sunday that doesn’t give you much time before the harsh realities of Monday come round. Therefore, get preparing a week in advance. Gradually move your bedtime earlier by 10 minutes each night.
Set the alarm – yes, really
The flip side of this is that you also need to prepare yourself at the other end of the day. Therefore 10 minutes earlier to bed, 10 minutes earlier to rise. Hopefully this way you can coax your body into coping once Monday morning comes round.
Bank it in on Sunday
The alternative is to accept that it’s a Sunday and therefore you can lie-in, no problem. This way you’re trying to fill the sleep bank with a surplus ready for Monday. For some this works, for others it just delays the inevitable.
Early to bed
If you’re the kind of person who lays your head on the pillow and is soon in the land of Nod, you may not need a week of preparation. If you can be sure you’ll drop off to sleep fairly easily on the Sunday night then head up to bed an hour earlier and know you’ll still be getting the same amount of sleep come the call of the alarm on Monday.
Change the clocks on Saturday
It’s tempting to delay changing the clocks, but the reality is that you’re delaying the inevitable. Take some time on Saturday to go around changing the clocks and you’ll begin shifting you and the rest of the household on to the new schedule. This also helps come Sunday morning to make a more realistic assessment of the time.
Have a lazy Sunday afternoon
If you don’t have any demands on your time, and Sunday is all yours, then take the opportunity for a nap. Grabbing a short nap might be all you need to get you through Monday morning without more blues than normal.
Tame the sunlight
We’re now entering the stage when the days become longer. With the clock change, the light can be streaming into your room even earlier. To prevent this causing you to wake too early, make sure you have some decent blackout curtains or blinds.
Don’t forget the kids
It’s all very well dishing out the advice for the child-free, but parents of youngsters have an added dimension. As you’ll remember from the heady early days, you need to sort their sleep before you can get any yourself. It can help to take a gradual approach to shifting their routine a little before you start shifting your own. Hopefully, you’ll all transition together.
It’ll be ok
Even if you fail to sleep, or have a few tired days, you will adjust. The clocks changing is much like jetlag (without the nice holiday). It doesn’t take long and you’ll soon be on the new normal and looking forward to summer.